Arcana Castigo

I pity you, mage. Yours' is a skill you have spent a lifetime developing. You may rival the gods themselves.
I pity you because you stare at me in confusion and disbelief. You are still so dependant on your power that even now you desperately try to cast the simplest of spells. You rely on this power too much.
You thought it made you a god? you were wrong...
— Baylim, Judge of Law, addressing his prisoner
    The arcane art of negation, Arcana Castigo is an Arcane Genre that focuses on negating and stripping magical energy. This is done in many ways but the effect is the same. A warrior closes his eyes and the spells cast his way seem to bend and twist around him having no effect. A mage mutters a series of mantras and the fires set by an arcane arsonist slowly die down and seem to repair the damage they caused. A judge waves her hand and the criminals before her find they cant even cast a spell in their defense. The art of negation is a rare gift. It is a skill that requires considerable effort, practice, and in many ways sacrifice.    

The Philosophy of Negation

  Negation is a strange effect that occurs when one cancels the arcane power of another. There are three ways to accomplish this that have been studied and developed over time:    

Polar Cancellation

Initially, it was believed that the only way to accomplish this goal was to cast spells that utilize energy that directly opposed the spells that are cast toward you. The energies of fire would be cancelled by water, light with dark, earth with air, death with life and so on. Practitioners would train night and day to build up the reaction time needed to do this in a real fight which leads to the ideologies main faults. The skill and training needed to be able to command so many different forms of Arcane Energy ask far to much of most practitioners. Its near impossible to have the reaction time and arcane talent to be able to counter every spell sent your way. This led many to stray from this ideology in search of more feasible methods. The concept is still taught and considered quite useful by many. This concept however is taught as a tool rather than something practitioners should specialize in.    

Negation

Many practitioners believed that using energy in its many forms led to the impossible standards of polar cancellation. The began to research and experiment with other methods of negating arcane effects. This led to the present day concept of negation.
The idea is that one can radiate an aura or create a telepathic barrier around themselves that can deflect or at the very least, decrease the severity of incoming spells. This novel method of telepathy led to further advancement. One can extend the aura or barrier in a radius or even cast it on separate objects. Negation, put simply, allows one to cause change in magical effects in their environment. Powers include both auras and barriers as previously mentioned but as the genre grew, other methods of negation became prominent as practitioners experimented with other arcane manifestations These include practitioners focusing in on magical effects and simply breaking them down before impact or reversing effects of magical energy. The major factor of negation is time. The best among practitioners can completely negate magical effects in the short span of time they have to do so. others can only lower the severity of those effects or build resistance to them. This factor, while greatly diminished, is still a major flaw in the genre. This led to the development of another method of negation that goes hand in hand with what is already established.

howard lyon in piece muro.jpg
by Howard Lyon

Limitations

The art of negation is regulated to some degree. Stripping is only used by the The Judges of Law and Merit and they hold the secret well. Few even desire the genre as it takes so long to master and doesnt work on everything one would call magic.

Mediums, shamans, bards, Oathbound, and Scions are all immune from the effects of stripping, and nullification. General negation however, can effect the abilities they use. Mages and druids are the most susceptible.  

Other Methods of Negation

Many have tried other methods of accomplishing negation. Various enchanted items have been developed that perform the same way that a practitioner of Arcana Castigo would.    
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by chasestone
Type
Metaphysical, Arcane

Nullification

To nullify arcane energy one must have a deep understanding and control over magic. The first examples of this were in the form of prayers and verses from religious texts belonging to gods of arcane power. Reciting them can actually nullify magic in one's environment. In an effort to recreate this power, practitioners sought advice from these divine beings. The beings explained that the only way to effortlessly render all magic inert is to simply will it so.
With the rise of Intent as a concept in magic, being that the only real thing needed to cast a spell is an understanding of the casters intention for that spell, this caught on alarmingly quick. Those who understood could simply will the magic away. It took effort, and training as well. One must have no doubts when they stand in the face of a dangerous spell. The power of nullifying spells causes fatigue and most never get to that point in training.    

Stripping

Arcane stripping is a controversial topic. It is unclear whether the arcane causes harm to reality. Many blame magic for the existence of Universal Maladies. This has yet to proven, however, and is most certainly not true. Stripping magic from the world, on the other hand, most definitely does. A small group of mages in Estoya banded together and tried to find some way of making Arcana Castigo more efficient. They came to the conclusion that while canceling out magic when its cast is useful, it would be far better if the opponent simply couldn't use magic at all. They began gathering subjects and conducted many horrible experiments on them. When they were discovered and their damage reversed, The judges that caught them were given an interesting proposal.
It turns out, magic needs to have some measure of faith to work. If one can convince themselves that magic does not exist, they can literally cancel magic at will and prevent magic from even existing in their environment. This is a form of Mediumship and requires a meditative trance that convinces the mind and soul that magic doesn't exist. This grants the ability to temporarily remove magical abilities from any around you. The cost of using this power is great. One will find it very difficult to learn other forms of magic if they learn and some find it's impossible to do so.  
Shi JinMengYuan.jpg
by Shi JinMengYuan
drop down for The Brooke Experiments
Of the experiments that were done, removing organs to determine where magic originates, using telepathy to tap and scratch on nerves in an attempt to "block" magic from coming through, and even trapping others in barriers to see if magic would work within are all examples.
Subjects were alive and aware, feeling every agonizing moment of it.

Those trapped in the skin tight barriers often drowned, burned alive, or were simply eviscerated by their own spells, unable to move as the barrier simply traced their form.
The mages were caught by The Judges of Law and Merit after the judges in question heard agonizing screams from their base of operations. The judges found them guilty of many crimes, and sentenced them to death. They burned every bit of research save for one single document. One of the mages succeeded in stripping magic permanently from a human male. The document went into terrible detail and in the end, the only way to permanently strip magic from another, is to sever the connection between a soul and the metaphysical. This is a heinous crime as a soul upon death can never venture to the afterlife from that point forward. The judges petitioned many of the most talented arcanists in Estoya to restore the connection. All attempts failed. Then fate intervened as a young woman from the provinces of Mhirriah answered their call. It was a Shaman who reconnected the soul with the metaphysical realms. The soul moved on and the shaman understood what had truly happened and offered to teach a safer method to the judges who took this information and made it a fundamental part of their orders.  


Cover image: by elder scrolls legends

Comments

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16 Jan, 2019 02:12

This is a Solid article for a Magic Discipline; I like the variety of methods for dispelling offered. I'll offer some questions to expand the world building related to this.   What is the line between arcane and mundane in this world? Is there magical elements in everyday life. Can a mage use the same techniques to kill a mundane fire as they do to suppress an arcane blaze? Can life be dispelled or negated? What if it's an arcane creature?

16 Jan, 2019 03:30

Good question and onebi really should specify on. So magic is metaphysical energy made manifest. It must be this energy to be relevant here. Arcabe creatures....ehhhh it depends. A creature that is fueled by energy like a golem and other created beings yes but a creature that has magic or is metaphysical itself like an eidolon no. An eidolon is different in the world lol thanks for the like and comment. I hadn't thought if that at all

17 Jan, 2019 00:46

Wow. Just... Wow. The way you formulated your article made me feel like reading about real life sciences. You put a nice touch of technical explanation without excluding the fact that it still is a magical world. Though there are some facts that don't feel clear to me, like... Why shamans are affected? And things like that. Overall, great article.

17 Jan, 2019 01:18

Thanks for your comment and I'm glad you liked it :) So this genre only works on magic that mages cast. Powers used by other magic users come from other sources.

17 Jan, 2019 02:07

Nice article! I like the idea that people can train themselves to not be affected by magic, and it makes sense if magic is based off will and belief (as yours appears to be). Is there a way for the opposite effect to take place? Like if someone believes hard enough that a caster's spell will be very powerful, would that override the caster's control over the strength of the spell. Overall, this does seem like a very useful skill and the logical outcome of a magical world.

17 Jan, 2019 03:29

Thanks for commenting. I'm glad you liked it. So magic is fueled by energy, not believe, but that energy is metaphysical. The disbelief serves as a disconnect that prevents the abstract energy from becoming a physical effect. Its like a reverse observer effect. They impose physical reality with believe and in doing so make these energy near impossible to manifest. Hmmm I'm trying to think of a better way to describe it.

17 Jan, 2019 03:31

Regardless to answer your question yes believe can strengthen a spell as can emotion. This is another genre ill likely work on soon. You can gather the believe of those around you, and their emotions and channel it.

18 Jan, 2019 11:53

I absolutely love this article! This is incredibly solid and detailed for a category of the arcane arts and the use of extremely good artwork all boils down to a solid and cohesive article on the art of negation. The beginning quote also hooks the reader in and the rest of the article is as interesting as the first right till the end. The two questions i had was that can the Arcana Castigo be integrated or infused into technology? If so then what are its advantages and how can it be done? And second i had to ask where did you get your artwork from? Its really good and offers some more depth into the article. Keep up the great work as always!

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